“And behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.’ But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying; ‘Send her away for she crieth after us.’ But He answered and said, ‘I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord help me.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.’ And she said, ‘Truth Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their Master’s table.’ Then Jesus answered and said unto her, ‘O woman, great is thy faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt.’ And her daughter was made whole from the very hour.” Matthew 15:22:28
There may be a few readers today who are attempting to purposely persevere through some very trying times. You may be one of them. You may be trying to save your life, your family, your marriage, or even your home; if so, the story of the Canaanite woman who sincerely wanted her daughter healed is for you.
This story, when you really understand it, is extremely emotional. The Canaanites were known for their worship of all types of idols. So, it is with some degree of determination that this woman pursues Jesus and pleads with Him to heal her daughter. We can imagine she pursued Him while others in her surroundings criticized her. Even the disciples of Jesus didn't want anything to do with her. Yet, she doggedly pursues Jesus anyway.
During the exchange in today’s verse, Jesus, the Light of God personified, openly appears to ignore her. Then, when He finally responds, He rejects her, telling her that God did not send Him to help her. Yet, she worships Him in supplication anyway, and pleads some more. When He responds again, He tells her that responding to her request is like giving His gifts to dogs. Dogs!
Most of us would have walked away with our heads bowed and hearts sorrowful at that time. I am not certain if I were called a dog whether I would continue to plead, even with God. In today’s vernacular the idea of being referred to as a “female dog,” is still by far an extreme insult. Yet she endured being called a dog by the Light of the World; and yet, she responds not by getting angry or even insulted, but by saying, “...even “dogs” are worthy of the crumbs which fall from the master’s table.
When I consider this story, it always brings with it a well of emotion. Imagine the sincerity of her request, the type of pleading—begging, that she had to sustain to repeatedly endure rejection by God. Yet she does not give up; she does not give in. By the time she is prostrate on the ground in front of Jesus, accepting His assertion of her and her daughter’s dog status, she humbly pleads; “even dogs” deserve healing from God. We should be moved to tears when we read this story. Since, it is so easy to imagine her pleading her case before God —we have all been there, desperate and out of options. Then almost miraculously, with the full compassion of God, Jesus answers her plea to heal her daughter. He spoke the Word, and it was done immediately!
Sometimes it appears that our personal pleas and prayers are not being answered by God. It seems as if God hears the prayer, the crying, the hopelessness, and doesn't respond. He appears to hold our request in a type of spiritual limbo; calling us out, exposing our frailties, testing our courage and faith. Everything seems to get worse; so, unlike the Canaanite woman, we give up. We hinder our own faith, and His response, by conceding to the circumstances instead of persevering with God who is by nature inherently merciful.
Like the Canaanite woman, if you have been praying for a breakthrough, or for something that you know only God can answer, remember not to give up, even if there is no response the first time. Even if the second response seems dismal; and yes, even if you appear to be called out by God as a non-deserving dog; continue to ardently plead your case anyway, because “dogged” persistence and perseverance always pays off with God! L.
Study Reference: Matthew 15:21-28, Psalm 31:24
From:"Persistent Perseverance." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions For Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell